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The Moody Blues - In Search of the Lost Chord CD (album) cover

IN SEARCH OF THE LOST CHORD

The Moody Blues

Crossover Prog


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Sean Trane
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk
4 stars Although completely different and definitely less prog, I like this one better than days. Some catchy tunes (See-Saw) as well as some masterful psychadelia (Legend Of a Mind is dedicated to Tim Leary the pope of LSD), the risk was enormous after having made Days. I would say the managed to accomplish that bet quite well.

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Send comments to Sean Trane (BETA) | Report this review (#15634)
Posted Tuesday, February 03, 2004 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
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Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars "Timothy Leary's dead? No he's outside looking in"

The first album by the band as a rock group, as opposed to the virtually unrelated pop outfit of the 60's ("Go now"), and their subsequent (excellent) one off orchestral project, "Days of Future passed".

Inevitably much of the music now sounds somewhat dated. For example, the poppy "Ride my see-saw", displays all the innocence of the flower power era, but in prog terms when seen in isolation is simplistic. There are however strong indications of high quality music which was to come.

"The actor" is a more structured piece with two distinct time signatures, which allows Justin Hayward to display his admirable vocal talents, backed by those now famous perfect harmonies.

Ray Thomas' usually contributes one or two compositions to each album, on which he takes lead vocals. Had it not been for the fact that Justin Hayward has such a wonderful and distinctive voice, we would perhaps have enjoyed the privilege of hearing Thomas' captivating vocals on a greater proposition of the band's output. Here, Thomas' contribution "Legend of a mind" is his tribute to 60's guru Timothy Leary. This trippy, flute driven piece is actually quite progressive, but once again now sounds rather dated.

In all, the hippy, flower power influences are strong here, but that does not detract from quality of the music, which remains thoroughly enjoyable.

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Send comments to Easy Livin (BETA) | Report this review (#15636)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
fingertippie@
5 stars I would give more stars. The time they made this record (1968). It's a great one. I had this album as LP and now bought it on CD. I haven't heard it for about 20 years, but it's still a great one. I'll see it and listen to it as one song, not 12 diverend songs. For me it's one great symphony.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15640)
Posted Thursday, July 01, 2004 | Review Permalink
James Lee
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Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The next fundamental step in their evolution, the MOODY BLUES replaced the orchestra with the Mellotron. It may seem like a step backwards after the rich triumph of "Days", but the emphasis on the songs is greater without the homogenous symphonic soundtrack, which didn't quite capture the character of the band. So you could very well call this the first real MOODY BLUES album!

"The Lost Chord" is an ancient legend concerning a musician who finds a combination of tones that produces a sublime, transcendant effect, and then spends the rest of his life trying to recapture the sound. Oddly, a song version by Jimmy Durante was the initial inspiration for the band, and using OM for the answer revealed the trendy mystic hippie influence.

"Departure" starts the journey with spacy sounds and a spoken invocation; a bit less hellenic and more psychedelic than the previous album's "Lament", but still quite similar and serving the same purpose. These recitations are an inherent trademark of the band, so I guess we'll let it slide- it's over quickly, anyway. "Ride my See-Saw" is an essential acid rocker, similar to such 60s classics as THE BYRDS' "8 Miles High". The characteristic harmonies and mellotron background make this a classic MOODYs song, and there's also some tasty Hayward guitar work. "Dr. Livingston" is a quintessential Ray Thomas song, which means lighthearted, simple, naive, british, and fun. "House of Four Doors" is a gateway piece, providing medieval, baroque, romantic, and rock "doors". The various mysterious atmospheres throughout are evocative (though the individual passages are far too short), and the vocal harmonies on the surging chorus are beautiful. I could have done without the creaking sound effect, though. The final door leads to "Legend of a Mind" , which balances a pretty, simple melody with lyrics extolling the Guru of Acid. You may be sick of ol' Tim's name by the time this is over, but it's a nice period tune and full of excellent variations. Wakeman may beat Pinder on the virtuoso scale, but nobody can make the Mellotron work harder- check out those bends! "Voices in the Sky" is also quite pleasant, simple and laidback but with some of the same trademark Hayward vocal crests as "Nights in White Satin". "The Best Way to Travel" steps over the line into psychedelic pastiche, but "Visions of Paradise" sweeps you away with soft, flowing grace, and "The Actor" contrasts light bouncy verses with yearning, dramatic choruses, recalling "Tuesday Afternoon". To wrap up the album, we're given another spoken segment, "The Word" , which leads into the most blatant psychedelic indulgence on the album, "OM". Only if you've never heard "Within You, Without You" would you not make the comparison, and it fails to provide a satisfying closure to the album.

Ultimately, this is THE MOODY BLUES exploring their options and honing their skills by making an effort to 'do' psychedelia- rather than simply being their mind-expanding selves as on following albums. It's a good historical piece, a must have for fans of both the psychedelic genre and the band, and there are several moments of impressive beauty and light experimentation. Less devoted folks may want to look elsewhere, however, as this can easily sound facile, silly and pretentious if you're not in the mood. If you aren't interested by the album the first time you hear it, it's probably not going to grow on you; as with any of the band's releases, the naive yet grandiose psychedelic pop sound places it in its own territory on the progressive map.

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Send comments to James Lee (BETA) | Report this review (#15641)
Posted Monday, July 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
Watcheroftheskies
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Here again is another example of The Moody Blues' diversity in compositional ability. This album really sounds alot like psychedelia and is quite trippy compared to other commercial releases. There are some weaker songs on this one compared to Days however. "Dr Livingstone I Presume" is kind of a silly song and while I like it, I do not think it would be a song that would be everyone's cup of tea. The small suite of "House of Four Doors/ Legend of a Mind/House of Four Doors pt.2" is classic Moody Blues! This is to me the highlight of the album. Legend of a Mind is about Timothy Leary, which explains why I believe this is definately a psychedelic album. The rest of the album is kind of like a trippy mental journey, especially "The Best Way to Travel". Another weak track on the album is the last one "Om" speaking of the same Om that is referenced in yoga. The supreme being that leads you to a higher consciousness. It is beautifully written as you would come to expect. Overall, if you liked "Days of Future Passed" and you like old Psychedelic rock, then you'll like this album. 4 Stars!

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Send comments to Watcheroftheskies (BETA) | Report this review (#15642)
Posted Thursday, September 09, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I think this album has better songs than Days of F.P. but is step backwards musically.But that is the only bad thing I will say about the grand poets of the psyedelic age.The melotron isnt quite The London Symphony.Part two of a five album winning streak.

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Send comments to James Hill (BETA) | Report this review (#15643)
Posted Sunday, October 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
fiddle01@talk
4 stars This album certainly is a one off. You will not find much like it elsewere and whats more it "sounds" like a one off.From the days when groups were given a more free expressive permit you can really hear creativity at its best. For those of you who want a introduction into the Moody Bles start here, you wont regret it. How many instruments are played on this album? I gave up counting. Its the alternative Sargent Pepper!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15644)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
orp78@netscap
5 stars This is a true masterpiece!

I first heard this album in 1972 (I was a kid), and it blew me away. It still does.

The album is a collection of songs based around a common theme. Each song, whilst being a song within it's own right, contributes to the whole. Each member of the group contributes equally- no lead singer, no front man-and the end result is a fascinating musical journey. The constant change of vocalist-Edge, Lodge, Thomas, Hayward & then Pinder-gives the true sense of a musical expedition- with all members taking an equal part. The changes of style-from the catchy "Ride my See-saw", through the comical "Dr Livingstone"-to the introverted "Actor", to "Om" (perhaps the answer?(!) are very enjoyable, and make a welcome change from some other bands, who used only one vocalist.

Whilst the credits on the album suggest a mini-orchestra, in practice the band line-up is a straight five piece.

Yes, sometimes parts of the album sound dated. But who cares?

This album is a must for everyone, young or old, who has an interest in progressive rock.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#15645)
Posted Thursday, April 07, 2005 | Review Permalink
Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
5 stars I love all MB albums from Days to Seventh Sojourn, but perhaps this one is the easiest to give 5*. Full of ideas, extremely rich soundscape, great songs (with the exception of 'Best Way to Travel' which is one of the worst Pinder songs) and the 'wholeness' - in that sense it can be compared to Sgt Pepper, and The Moodies at that time honoured as one of the most important bands to explore rock's new artful territories. This album has the happiest feel of all the seven, a certain kind of happiness that comes from riding on the crest of creativity, of finding group's own identity. They really needed no help of an orchestra anymore. Producer Tony Clarke called them "the smallest symphony orchestra of the world". Justin Hayward's 'Actor' is one of my favourite MB songs. Ray Thomas's 'Legend of Mind' ("Timothy Leary's dead? No nonono, he's outside, looking in...") is a highlight too. 'Om' is a perfect ending with its Eastern mysticism. As individual songs there are some lesser things, but as a whole: A Definitive Art Rock Masterpiece of its time.

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Send comments to Matti (BETA) | Report this review (#15646)
Posted Wednesday, April 20, 2005 | Review Permalink
FloydWright
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This, along with Days of Future Passed, is probably all you need to hear of the MOODY BLUES if you are a casual fan only. I cannot justify 5 stars for it because as with all MOODY BLUES records, there is a relationship with the pop of its era that's a little too close for comfort, for me...I have very little love for the pop of the 60s. However, as a representative of both prog and pop psychedelia, I would much sooner offer this one as an example than PINK FLOYD's Piper at the Gates of Dawn. Here, while there definitely are places where the technological limitations of the time show, I think the production and songwriting are certainly much more coherent than anything SYD BARRETT had to offer.

"Departure"/"Ride My See-Saw" is entertaining and funny...but there's no question that the latter part was intended to be a radio hit. The Mellotron works well in the background of this and all other songs on In Search of the Lost Chord; unlike later efforts Threshold of a Dream and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, MICHAEL PINDER would not attempt to bring the Mellotron to the foreground where it simply couldn't pull its weight. "Dr. Livingston, I Presume?" is a funny RAY THOMAS piece that serves well to introduce the album's concept, which seems to be a search for purpose and meaning in life. The two "House of Four Doors" pieces are more interstitial tracks than anything, but they are experimental and enjoyable.

One of the real highlights of the album--despite the unfortunate jumping on the bandwagon and glorifying LSD as was common in that era--was RAY THOMAS' other piece "Legend of a Mind" about the acid propagandist Timothy Leary. This is perhaps one of the longest, most developed musical compositions I've had the pleasure of hearing from THOMAS, and I also think PINDER shines with both his organ and Mellotron work (the pitch-bends are superbly done). This is then followed by the soft, sappy "Voices in the Sky"...typical fare from JUSTIN HAYWARD, although not quite as treacly as some of his later work would wind up being.

"The Best Way to Travel" contains one of the most memorable lyric lines from the album, "Thinking is the best way to travel," and I can't help noticing the vocal harmonies. One sound even begins to remind me a bit of the Sputnik satellite traveling around...could that be what they intended there? "Visions of Paradise" is where the album begins to lean more heavily upon Indian music and I have to commend the sitar work, especially the downward scale used at one point to change keys. Unfortunately, philosophy then turned into a love song with "The Actor", a rather mediocre HAYWARD ballad that actually seems to rip off "Unchained Melody" at one point.

The closing duo, however, really seals the bargain as far as this album is concerned: some wonderful, well-read GRAEME EDGE poetry in "The Word" that sets up the other true star of the album, "Om". This one does extremely well to capture the flavor of Indian music, and the tradeoff between vocalists gives it an excellent effect. The harmonies are rich, and the middle section with the sitar is absolutely superb. Ending with an a capella version of the chorus leaves one with a good feeling about this album despite its weak points which can mainly be traced to one man: JUSTIN HAYWARD. Once you get this and Days of Future Passed, you should be all set as far as the MOODY BLUES are concerned.

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Send comments to FloydWright (BETA) | Report this review (#15647)
Posted Saturday, May 21, 2005 | Review Permalink
eanmund44@mai
4 stars Though the Moody Blues are probably best known (at least in the USA) for their pop-rock songs from the 80's, they were doing some good innovative music in the late 60's / early 70's, often with lots of groundbreaking mellotron colorings.

I'd consider this to be their best album. It definitely contains pop elements, and is a light in intensity compared to most bands, but it contains some powerfully rich melodies and songwriting. Again, the mellotron has a strong presense, as well as tasty vocal harmonies, flute, and various persons in the band taking turns with songwriting and singing. This might take a little while for some people to get into, but once this sinks in, it can be fairly rewarding.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#38016)
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
lycanjunk@msn
5 stars I have listened to this album repeatedly since childhood, and it hasn't lost it's appeal at all. Yes, it is a little on the dated side, but all music is at some point or another. The quality of the music remains at levels only a handfull of bands can ever produce, and the unique sound that is created is signature Moodies. All the members are at their best here, with haunting melodies and thougt provoking lyrics that have become modern classics. The blend of styles incorporated into the songs was really ahead of its time, and can easily be listened to in today's modern era. A must-have for all Moody fans.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#38861)
Posted Friday, July 08, 2005 | Review Permalink
Zitro
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars An ok, yet very disappointing follow up to their previous work. This album is less symphonic, and tends to be more psychedelic. It still has the same structure since it is a concept album in which all the tracks connect to each other perfectly. The problem with this album is lack of consistent quality (the second half starts to fall apart) and being uninteresting in moments.

1). Departure is a short noisy introduction.

2. Ride my see-saw 7/0 : This is the best track from the album. IT is a hit single, and it does not disappoint. Good rocker with the usual rich vocal harmonies.

3. Dr. Livingstone, I presume? 6/10 beatlesque decent pop song. A normal common Moody blues-style song with a nice guitar solo.

4. House of four doors pt1+pt2 6.5/10 : the most progressive song of this album. I slightly get bothered by those door special effects, but the good music (good mellotron and lots of variety) redeems it. Every time you hear the door, the music changes completely to a different style.

5. Legend of a mind 7/10 : an intelligently made , long and developed piece. 'timothy Leary's dead ... NOOOOnononoooo' is a great harmonious vocal hook. There is a lot to like in this piece, and the mellotron soars.

7. Voices in the sky 4/10 : An ok, yet nothing special, moody blues track. It is relatively simple, and nothing to write about.

8. The best way to travel 2/10 : An pop song with a disappointing synth usage to imitate the doppler effect of cars passing by and a horrid pulsating sound in the second half of the song.

9. Visions of paradise 4/10 : A flute melody begins the song, and the vocal harmonies begin to back it up. An average song that does not hold my attention.

10. The actor 4.5/10: another average pop song like the previous three songs. The melodies, and musicianship are nothing special, but they get better in the second half of the song. The acoustic guitar is pleasant.

11. The word : a narration

12. Om 5/10 : A very eastern influenced song which sounds uplifting and spiritual.

Approach this album with caution. If you like bombastic progressive rock, I doubt you will be amazed in this record. This is an album of good simple music.

My Grade : C-

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Send comments to Zitro (BETA) | Report this review (#42596)
Posted Friday, August 12, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is the second at the Moody Blues' "Magnificent Seven" albums row. "In Search of the Lost Chord" was conceived to be entirely played by the five members of the band, and they employed nothing less than 33 (!) different instruments at its recording. That said, this album is a perfect example of late sixties music, using lots of Eastern instruments (Hayward played sitar, Pinder, tamboura, and it goes). The concept here is search: search for the music, search for answers, search for themselves. As on "Days..." Graeme Edge wrote and spoke two poems, "Departure" and "The Word", which represents the concept of this album. About the music, there are three well-known songs: "Ride my See- Saw", "Legend of a Mind" (which its unforgettable chorus: "Timothy Leary's dead... No no no no he's outside, looking in", and the ridiculous comparison of "astral plane" with an airplane!!) and "Voices in the Sky". Other highlights are "The Best Way to Travel", "Dr. Livingstone I Presume" (another "happy" Thomas song), "Visions of Paradise" and "The Actor". This is a great album, but its Eastern influences makes it a bit dated. This does not happen to most of Moody Blues' albums, and it is the biggest reason to rate it as a four- star.

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Send comments to M. B. Zapelini (BETA) | Report this review (#46814)
Posted Friday, September 16, 2005 | Review Permalink
broadwilliam@
4 stars Another nice album cover, and this one featured some very strong tunes. 'Ride My Seesaw' has a very 60's British sound about it (not altogether surprising since it was 1968). It's driving with some very confident, bold guitar playing that showed they were a force to be reckoned with. Great harmonies, it takes you quickly into a dream world, ready for the story to be told about Dr. Livingstone. Then we have the mildly creepy sound effects of the door opening on 'House of four Doors', embellished masterfully by Pinder's synth hooks. Then there's a tribute to the 'Acid Man', Timothy Leary, where Ray Thomas shows us what a great flautist he is /was.

'Voices in the Sky' showed off Justin Haywards beautiful voice, and this was the highest charting track in Britain from this album.

(Thinking is) 'The best way to travel' had a slightly cheesy sound about it, with spacecraft sound effects. Then we're into the plaintive, atmospheric, anthemic 'Actor', again sung beautifully by Hayward, and for some time this was a staple of middle of the road FM radio.

We then have some of Graeme Edge's poetry, that sets the scene for the finale, the mystical 'Om', where the Moodies like the Beatles, show their mastery of the sitar, to produce a very Eastern, meditative sound. This is a good album, although it sounds a lot more dated than 'To Our Children's Children's Children', which was released just a year later (in November '69, not 1970 according to this site, though that may be for the USA) in England.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#52089)
Posted Monday, October 17, 2005 | Review Permalink
Atkingani
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars This album could fit almost perfectly as a disc 2 for the previous "Days of Future Passed" (if this one was not so conceptual, of course). The major difference is the absence of the orchestra which gave "In Search of the Lost Chord" a more rocky sound and that's also fine.

The songs:

'Departure' and 'Ride my see-saw' compound truely only one fair and powerful opening track and then the listener's attention is totally attracted to the album; 'Dr. Livingstone, I presume' is a real prog-song of the average type; 'House of 4 doors, parts 1 & 2' are great tracks with good singing and voices;

'Legend of a mind' is the most psychedelic track, unforgettable when we remind the figure of the guru Timothy Leary;

'Voices in the sky" is a kind of classical MB's ballad and the soft "The best way to travel" is agreeable but loses a bit with the introduction of spacecraft sound effects;

'Visions of Paradise' is just pleasant while "The actor" and "The word" are the weakest songs; "Om" is a mix of psychedelism and art-rock that does a fair ending to the work.

Minus 1-star for the weakest tracks. Total: 4.

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Send comments to Atkingani (BETA) | Report this review (#57922)
Posted Friday, November 25, 2005 | Review Permalink
johnsmith@aol
5 stars This album is by far my favorite album by the Moody Blues. It is filled with psychedelic melodies that go through ears to your brain and rub your senses clean of all stress. My favprite tracks are Ride My See-Saw, Dr. Livingston I presume, Om, and Legend Of A Mind. If you'reinto the 60's psychedelic era, and a little dosage of prog, then this album is the perfect purchase.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#68262)
Posted Friday, February 03, 2006 | Review Permalink
silenthillps2
5 stars My personal favorite album of all time, ISOTLC is sheer brilliance. The next step in the Moody Blues 7 album run of epicness, ISOTLC takes the moodies aside from the orchestral sound of DOFP, and brings a much more progressive side to the band. The band has hit an extremely high level, extremely fast, where the music, the vocals, the melodies, and all else are in a perfect blend of absolute wonder of which no band can match in 1968. I will admit, Dr Livingston is not the most amazing song ever, but it is still a simple and joyous melody of which i cannot deny. I would never say ANY song on here is bad, it is a flawless album, it is just Ray Thomas's "Dr. Livingston I presume" does not match the greatness of the entire album. Otherwise, the album is striking. Justin Hayward's vocals are undeniably the greatest vocals YET in music, and he is singing quite possibly the most moving and melodic songs EVER. This album is perfect, listen to it and you will be stunned. I advise playing this for your children, if you have any. I am 19 and my father played me this and many other great albums when i was a child, and they have changed my life in such an amazing way! Purchase this NOW!

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#71453)
Posted Wednesday, March 08, 2006 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
3 stars The second of the ‘big 5’ from the Moody Blues is the one without a full orchestra, the band preferring to generate their own sounds. It was ambitious for a young group of musicians, and they do a pretty good job. This is the toking album – just don’t take it too seriously.

“Ride My See-Saw” is such an awesome tune! This album came out at the highest peak of the rather brief psychedelic heyday, and it’s kind of funny today that this is considered a progressive album, because at the time it would have fallen into the same category as a J-Lo album in 1999 – completely intended as a mass-appeal work of the currently popular sound. I find it hilarious that even with this the Moodies couldn’t pull off a proper spacey tune. The pulsating guitar riffs, simple rhythm, and meaningless, tripped-out vocals work well enough as a flower-power song, but the distinct Moodies harmonizing and ever-so-faint flute give this away as something a bit higher-brow than your average hippy anthem. This is really a good song.

Same goes for “Dr Livingstone, I presume?”. The vocals and drums here are a bit closer to the Byrds or Procol Harum, but once again the vocals and supporting instrumentation set this song apart. I gather the lyrics are supposed to be something like a tongue-in- cheek Yellow Submarine kind of thing, but frankly that’s unimportant anyway – this one is just to be enjoyed as a nice tune that requires no thinking to appreciate.

I suppose “House of Four Doors” begins the theme portion of the album. The previous two may be a part as well, but the connection is neither obvious nor important. This song begins some sort of journey through a series of doors behind which different types of music are played – middle ages kind of stuff, something that sounds like French high- brow orchestral music, and another that makes me picture rolling British countrysides. There may be something deeper, but this is good enough for me. The various sounds are mostly made by Mellotron, a bit of flute, and several percussive instruments I’m not astute enough to identify. No matter, it’s pleasant enough and sounds really cool with headphones. Highly recommended for those who prefer their mind in an altered state – not for me any more, but who am I to judge? And speaking of altered minds, we’re ready for what else is behind that door – what did the sign say?

““Enter in all ye who seek to find within - as the plaque said on the last door.”

“Legend of a Mind” certainly isn’t hard to figure out – “Timothy Leary’s dead; no, no, no, no, he’s outside looking in. He’ll fly his astral plane, he’ll take you trips around the bay…. ”. You get the picture. Very spaced-out vocal tracks, and one of the very few acid-trip songs you’ll ever here that features a flute, and what sounds like a wooden one Some interesting sound effects, particularly considering this was 1968 – airplane drones, enhanced echoed vocals, and plenty of Mellotron. The guitar and bass work on this song is very controlled and very appealing.

The acid trip is apparently part of the package tour for one of the doors, because after that we’re found back before another door to finish the trip. We’re back down off the colored clouds now with a pop hymn with a message about seeking and –

well, about seeking anyway.

“Voices in the Sky” is another one of those late 60s tunes about exploration of everything around us to find the answers and beauty in all that lives in nature and – bleah, silly crap. More 60s hug-the-world malarkey. Good enough for a listen today if no one is watching.

“The Best Way to Travel” is – well, “you can fly high as a kite if you want to, faster than light if you want to”. You get the picture. Nothing special except for a few interesting stereo sound effects that are clearly intended for those in the aforementioned altered states. The first few times I heard this I thought the “toot-toot” sound was from a squeaky organ petal, but now that I have the remastered CD, I realize it was intentional. An okay song, but again nothing special.

On “Visions of Paradise” the Moodies offer up those harmonic and mournful vocals that no other band seems to have mastered. This is one of the few songs where the sitar and tabla are really out front and obvious. They of course give the song a somewhat eastern feel, particularly with the flute thrown in for good measure. I’ve no idea what the band is singing about, but considering the title and the tone of the rest of the album, I can guess pretty easily.

“The Actor” is ‘hauntingly beautiful’ ©®, a phrase used often to describe Moody Blues music, but very appropriate here. I guess this song is about two lovers who are each sitting at their respective windows on a rainy day, each thinking of the other gloomily – guess they had a spat or something, not sure. The flute is eerie and wafts in the background on this one, guitar strings are picked in a sad manner, and the keyboards are non-distinct but also brooding, along with those spaced-out harmonic vocals that can make sad people spontaneously burst into tears just from hearing them. This is the apex of the album in my opinion, and was probably a big part of the experiences that led to the formation of the Moodies sound that would be in the forefront of their next several albums.

The point of the album (I assume, hard to see clearly from all the smoke) is the identification and naming of the lost chord; and that chord is – “Om”. This little piece of important information is delivered in the form of a spoken-word poem, much as similar important information was delivered in the previous Days of Future Passed. Sounds quite dated now, but this was heady stuff in 1968.

The closing “Om” is a mystical, spiritually influenced sound with sitars and tablas and what sounds like some sort of wooden drums and flute and weird Mellotron sounds and just a hint of guitar all rolled into one. It’s a spaced-out tune, and purposely so. This is the mystical peak of the mountain where the shaman sits dispensing wisdom and enlightenment. Or something like that. Anyway, again in the context of the times, it’s a pretty good ending.

This is more mystical and psychedelic than Days of Future Passed, and somehow a bit more structured than On the Threshold of a Dream. The latter is sometimes pointed to as the suggestive drug-reference title, but I think that’s more appropriately said of In Search of the Lost Chord. The traveler’s aid for the search here is chemical (or organic) in nature, and this was a time when we all still thought enlightenment could be found there.

We were apparently wrong, but this is a pretty decent album anyway. Not the one to start with for new Moodies fans (I recommend Seventh Sojourn as a first crack at the band), but a good effort all the same. Three stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#80559)
Posted Tuesday, June 06, 2006 | Review Permalink
chopper
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Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Like "Question of Balance" we have a Moodies classic (Ride my see-saw) followed by a "comic"number, this time in the shape of "Dr Livingstone I presume". The album starts off with a Graeme Edge poem "Departure", about which the kindest thing I can say is "it is of its time". Unlike its successor however, this album has a succession of excellent tracks, culminating the Indian-flavoured "Om". There is more than a hint of 60s psychedelic here, particularly in "Legend of a Mind" which name checks drug guru Timothy Leary (check out the "Legend of a Mind" box set reviewed on this site). "Voices in the sky" is a beautiful Hayward number which highlights his voice (one of the best in prog, I would say). The production is also very 1960s, with instruments positioned at the far edges of the stereo spectrum, as was the fashion in those days. The two part epic "House of four doors" which sits either side of "Legend of a Mind" is another great song, divided up by the sound of an opening door. This album is not really a progressive rock album but is a classic of psychedelic pop in a similar way to Sgt Pepper.

The recently reissued version is a two disc set, the first being an SACD/CD hybrid version of the original album and the second consisting of alternate mixes, instrumental versions and some live tracks from the BBC.

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Send comments to chopper (BETA) | Report this review (#82694)
Posted Tuesday, July 04, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Moodies second LP, from 1968, came one year after their breakthrough, Days of Future Passed. It may not have the same impact as its' predecessor, IMHO not any ore 'Prog' than Days... at least. It still serves as a bridge between their British Invasion past and what was to come in the near future.

"Ride My See-Saw" is a more rocking number while "Dr, Livingstone I presume" sounds quite silly and of something that could have been made three years earlier. The most 'Prog' songs of the album comes next; "House of Four Doors", the hit "Legend of a Mind", wcich sounds better on the mid-70s mix from their best of album, and "House of Four Doors (Part 2)".

"Voices in the Sky" and "The best Way to travel" sounds like contemporary 60s Pop that they have played with in the studio a bit, added some effects here and there. "Visions of Paradise is more moody (Must be good for a band named The Moody Blues! Sorry couldn't help) and so is "The Actor". As most of the tracks on this record it have much flute in it and this must be one of the first Pop albums where the flute has that much place in the foreground. It would be more common later. After some spoken words ("The Word") there's more flute in the quite good ending track "Om"

This record sounds of something like a missing link between the british Pop of the 60s and the british Prog of the 70s. As that it is important. But, to be honest, it ain't really my cup of tea.

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Send comments to Frasse (BETA) | Report this review (#86462)
Posted Thursday, August 10, 2006 | Review Permalink
Chicapah
PROG REVIEWER
1 stars There are many admirable things about the sixties. In that decade my generation took some very important political and social stands and ushered in a new era of creative thinking and art. By the same token there are many things about those "flower power" times that make me cringe in embarrassment. Some of the clothing styles, silly fads and phrases and our naïve attitude towards dangerous drugs in general haven't aged well at all. In many ways I feel the same about The Moody Blues.

"Days of Future Passed" had put them on the map in a big way the year before so they went into the studio to try and sustain that momentum and write songs that would speak to the truth-seeking "hippie" crowd that was experimenting with hallucinogenics. The undisguised "let's all take a trip, shall we?" lyrical content and attitude makes it seem that way to me. The result was "In Search of the Lost Chord" which showed them to be much more proficient and confident as performers and musicians. "Departure" starts things off dramatically with a slithering harp and an explosion of sound followed by a brief soliloquy spoken over a rising tone. Not too shabby. John Lodge's "Ride My See-Saw" takes over and it's a fine tune that features tight, concise three part harmony and a melodic guitar lead. Later, Ray Thomas' "Legend of a Mind" also stands out musically and production-wise. It seems to be praising Timothy Leary's dubious "Tune in, turn on, drop out" lifestyle but depending on when this song was written LSD might still have been legal in the UK so it's somewhat excusable in that light. Thomas' flute work is excellent throughout the album but especially here. Justin Hayward's "Voices in the Sky" is another decent tune that features his distinguished and very recognizable voice. "Visions of Paradise," a Hayward/Thomas collaboration is also better than average with its sitar and flute combination. But not all of the album has songs as good as these. "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is as corny as Kansas in August and "House of Four Doors (Pts. 1 & 2)" tries way too hard to be some kind of deep psychedelic journey. "The Best Way to Travel" is an annoying example of how to misuse the pitch control on a Mellotron and how to employ an incessant garbage truck backing up beeping sound on a record. Hayward's "The Actor" is pleasant enough but it never really goes anywhere interesting. Drummer Graeme Edge gets to contribute another well-written poem, "The Word," recited by Mike Pinder in the same thespian way as he did on their previous album. "Om" is old school and overblown in a self-explanatory way but the harmonies are full and I have to give a shout out to Justin Hayward's sitar work on the song. He's no Ravi Shankar but he gives George Harrison a run for his money.

I'm sorry if this offends the millions of Moody Blues fans out there but this just isn't a very good album. Quaint reminiscing is one thing but this is something else altogether. The good news is that they were getting better and would eventually create some truly high-class progressive rock that stands the test of time. "In Search of the Lost Chord," however, does not. 1.4 stars.

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Send comments to Chicapah (BETA) | Report this review (#112761)
Posted Monday, February 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars With the spectacular "Days of Future Passed" album now under their belts, the Moodies had broken new ground and were under pressure to deliver a good follow-up. Needless to say, they more than delivered a worthy follow-up. The Moodies weren't about to have an orchestra featured once again, so they took it upon themselves to fiddle around with over thirty instruments. The result is another intriguing concept album with a prefect flow. The music has an Eastern influence, and without a doubt is their most psychedelic album. This came out before King Crimson really stirred things up in the world of Art rock in 1969, and it really should get more credit from Prog. fans. This 1968 effort does push the limits.

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Send comments to Kyle (BETA) | Report this review (#119084)
Posted Friday, April 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Definitely a bit dated is In Search of the Lost Chord but it was and still is one of the bands finest efforts. A brave step from the orchestral sounding predecessor this release has all the late 60's influences, psychedelic illusions, drug enhanced utopia that one would expect from a band of this era. Almost what Caravan were doing in the Canterbury scene and yet there is a more pop edge to the Moodey Blues. Highlights would have to be "Legend of a Mind" and " Om". Another solid affair from these prog forerunners. Did the prog sound last, no more short lived than some other bands but still plenty of quality music still to be released by them up to about the mid seventies.Three and a half stars to be precise!

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Send comments to Chris S (BETA) | Report this review (#129752)
Posted Sunday, July 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
russellk
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars This album really is a treasure. To my mind it is much more of a transformation than was the previous album. What in 'Days of Future Passed' hinted at this?

'In Search of the Lost Chord' isn't quite a concept album. It isn't quite progressive either. Given it came out a year before KING CRIMSON'S debut, there was no template to follow. So THE MOODY BLUES simply made one of their own.

Here's how the album works. It is introduced by a spoken-word track, 'Departure', which almost disappears up its own pretentiousness - except for the laughter which makes you aware that despite the sedulous message - be nice to each other - they're not taking themselves completely seriously. There's another spoken-word track 'The Word' near the end to remind us the album has a point. And in between there is a continuous flow of music - one of the earlierst bands to adopt a seamless segue from one track to the next - written and sung by the various members of the group. The strength of this band is the variation they offer within their ethos. If JUSTIN HAYWARD, the clear outstanding vocalist, sung every track, the album would be far too cloying. They have taken a lead from THE BEATLES' mode of operating, with HAYWARD and LODGE the gentler, slightly less talented equivalents of LENNON and MCCARTNEY. Every album is a whole-group effort.

The wonder of THE MOODY BLUES is how they combined pop music that clearly appealed to the masses with thoughtful and challenging progressive music into a seamless whole, evoking many different emotions and moods. It's sometimes necessary to suspend one's cringe faculty when listening to them, especially with regard to their overly evangelistic message of love, but it's worth it.

HAYWARD'S ballads are generally the most commercial, and on this album 'Voices In The Sky' is the most well known single. He combines an exceptional pop sensibility with his beautiful, plaintive voice and lyrics that reach for the ineffable mystery of life. It's a formula, yes, but (in the 1970s at least) it is not overdone, as he is given at most two or three songs per album. 'The Actor' is simply glorious, very nearly as good as 'Nights of White Satin' from the previous album, and 'Vision of Paradise' is almost of the same quality. JOHN LODGE also writes commercial material, and he provides the single 'Ride My See-Saw' for this album, as well as the slightly annoying 'House of Four Doors', split into two parts, separated by another track (another MOODIES trick). His vocals are generally multi-tracked, and his tracks are closer to rock than HAYWARD'S ballads. RAY THOMAS provides whimsical material in the main (such as 'Dr Livingstone I Presume'), but outdoes himself on this album with 'Legend Of A Mind', a wonderful progressive track. Finally, MIKE PINDER, with his mellotron at the heart of THE MOODY BLUES sound, generally gets at least one chance to combine his classically-influenced brand of progressive music with his overly trite lyrics. 'The Best Way To Travel' is the first of these.

This is a pattern they repeated over the next few years, building up an enviable catalogue of eminently listenable and beautiful music with progressive sensibilities. To many a modern ear they now sound dated, but they were ahead of their time. This is the second of seven high-quality albums which should sit firmly in the collection of anyone interested in the music of the seventies.

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Send comments to russellk (BETA) | Report this review (#139725)
Posted Saturday, September 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Slartibartfast
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars 5 stars The Moody Blues really seem sort of borderline progressive to me these days. Just considering their whole catalog and the early material in the context of other music that was coming out at the time.

This may have been their finest hour. Only track I might kick to the curb: Dr. Livingstone, I Presume. It's not as disposable as some of their cheesy tracks on other albums, but still, I could live without it.

The rest of pieces are true gems. OK, except for two the poetry pieces, but they are mercifully short. The rest of the album is very moving. It's likely the best example of psychedelic music you'll find. I'm pretty sure they never did find that damn lost chord though.

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Send comments to Slartibartfast (BETA) | Report this review (#146086)
Posted Saturday, October 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars 10/10 Masterpiece

Here it is!!!!!! The reason I am into good music. So, I guess I can be a little bias, but that is not without first realizing that this is STILL a masterpiece of music and is just absolutely brilliant in ever way. My bias leads to this being higher than mighty and just a crown achievment of purest genius and awesomeness. Ok, you get the point, I love this album to death and it is a complete classic for me, family and friends alike. The music and sound of The Moody Blues is in full force on "In Search..." and there are moods and auras on here worth scientific study...they are INCREDIBLE. The sound of the moodies is a love or hate I guess, and I adore it, and this album is drenched in beauty.

I love every track on this album, if I had to pick a weakest point it would be "Dr. Livingston..", although I still think it is a great song it does not live up to the other genius of the album as a whole. I don't really know what to say about this one, I am almost speachless, I cannot really get across how I feel on it. Tracks like "House of Four Doors...", "The Actor", and "Visions of Paradise" just destroy my emotions and are musical productions of unheard quality. Justin Hayward is quite possibly the best male vocalist in human history, Mike Pinder a genius mellotron and passion master (my favorite member of the band), John Lodge and Ray Thomas peices of the vocal and instrumental power, and Grame Edge's unforgettable spoken moments and great drumming. This album ties the moodies together in a TRUE prog scene, with "Days..." being a great experiment but not fully intending on "sounding" proggish. This album brings the moodies into the whole concept album scene and they are one of the first bands to create a true masterwork around it.

Listen to this album, play it for your family, yoru friends...it will stick with you/them for eternity. I don't really know exactly what the album is about, and I don't really care, because the mystery of the songs and aura is just magnificant. I will listen to this album over and over and always feel nostalgic and peaceful...The Moody Blues brilliance continues...

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Send comments to The Lost Chord (BETA) | Report this review (#149641)
Posted Friday, November 09, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars In search of a certain style, it is definitely what the band is looking for.

Their first three albums don't have anything related. Gone is the orchestra (good news) from "Days". This album is more related with some good psychedelia ("Ride My See-Saw") and less powerful songs as "Dr. Livingstone, I presume" which is fully "Sgt. Pepper's" oriented.

Some discreet mellotron during "House Of Four Doors" is the best you'll get out that tune. Of course, there are many doors to open here. Kind of a musical "Myst" (the great computer game).

The mood is definitely psychedelic. But don't expect any masterpiece à la "Pepper's" or even a work close to ."Piper". It is almost plagiarism I would say. But not bad. It is my description of "Legend Of A Wind" featuring a pleasant flute passage and which is one of my fave. A more complex song writing for the longest track of this album.

Some "Indian" sounds to introduce the pastoral "Voices In The Sky" (a deeper investigation into Indian music is experienced during "Om"). The remaining songs from this album is repetitive business. If ever you like second tier experiences, go and get this one. I am more inclined to first class ones even if the mood of this album is pleasant, it doesn't hold sufficient good (there aren't great ones) songs.

Some pleasant musical moments, yes. But nothing really fancy ("Visions Of Paradise").Two stars, no more.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#163385)
Posted Friday, March 07, 2008 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In search of Days of Future Past?

Following their highly regarded masterpiece Days of Future Passed The Moodies decided they'd do something different, yet the same with this next effort. The band clearly noticed that they'd be able to make good music if they steered their ship in the more psychedelic direction and that's what they've done. Gone, however, is the orchestra and the massive arrangements of their previous album. This one is considerably stripped down, which is good if you felt that the previous album was a little ''over the top'', but it really is a noticeable loss here. While the band certainly doesn't need a full orchestra behind them at all times it is nice to have, the nice thing though is that the arrangements have become considerably less ''disney''. The album is a little bit heavier than before and little bit less emotional. There's no grand finale like Nights in White Satin or The Evening, but there are some great moments none the less.

It starts once again with the spoken word, clearly in an attempt to make a follow up to their last album. This one is no album about ''a day in the life'', but is instead a loose concept about the search of the sacred syllable ''Om'' as evident by the very beginning and very end of the album - although it is not one consistent story. The very cool opening, Departure, brings us madly into the opening track, the wonderful Ride My See-Saw - heavy and still psychedelic, comparible to early Pink Floyd, but on speed. Harmonized voices make for a very zoned out feeling along with the pressing bass, making this likely the definitive standout on the album. However, it's rather unfortunate to get that track out of the way so quickly.

The rest of the album is very good, but nothing mind blowing like the band's debut. Some tracks still have a little but of 60s ''romp'' in them such as the odd Dr. Livingstone, I Presume and The Actor while others take a more calm approach, an almost zoned out one, in fact. Voices In The Sky is a pretty and slow moving track, as is Visions of Paradise, while The Best Way To Travel picks up the pace very slightly for this trip of a song. The closing Om features some eastern influence and is another track on the slower side of things.

Another good part of the album is still to be mentioned though. The somewhat-suite House Of Four Doors is likely the most 'progressive' piece on the album. This one is more of a story telling concept piece than the others, as it tells of a journey into this crazy-mystical house. Its ominous feeling is spoiled only by the sound of a door slowly and squeakily opening... 4 times!! A rather unfortunate thing, yes - especially considering that the song is only 4 minutes long, but the song still flows, even with that very annoying effect in there. The second part of the song luckily features no door-opening sounds in its short 2-minute life, so it stands out above the first. Sandwiched in the middle is the fun Legend Of A Mind which makes reference to the infamous Timothy Leary and his various drugs, albeit in a semi-g-rated fashion. Harmonized vocals once again make for a psychedelic track as does some fun instrumental sections.

This album really would have had a hard time following up the legendary Days Of Future Passed, but it does so satisfyingly. Not an album that will change your life, this one is simply good. A lot of people hold it in very high regard, but it's sometimes hard to see why - since while it certainly is good, the Moodies have done better. This one is going to get 3.5 voices in the sky out of 5. Recommended for fans of the 60s psych scene, but people who are looking to get into the band may have better luck elsewhere.

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Send comments to Queen By-Tor (BETA) | Report this review (#182112)
Posted Tuesday, September 09, 2008 | Review Permalink
kenethlevine
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars While the full time orchestra of "Days of Future Passed" reaped full time financial rewards for the group and its record company, the powers that be wisely recognized that it was not sustainable, and the group needed to pursue its way without such encumbrances. Would the big sound be translatable to rock band format? Yes! And thanks mostly to Mike Pinder's Mellotron. While the Moodys, in 1968, may not have been the first group to use it, they were the first to deploy it successfully as a commercial instrument. From a versatility perspective, one can see why, as in capable hands such as Pinder's, it can achieve quite a range of symphonic effects, many of which are aired on this brilliant work.

The imagination of the Moodys is immediately apparent in the one-two of "Departure/Ride my See Saw". It's far less self-important than what we heard on "Days..", and "Ride.." is one of the band's freshest sounding songs even 40 years on. The mellotron and lead guitars help embellish what is already a melodic rocker of the highest quality. Another top drawer highlight is "House of Four Doors/Legend of a Mind combination, the latter being Ray Thomas' single best piece written for the group, with a psychedelic middle section starring his flute, the mellotron (again) and acoustic guitars. "House of For Doors" itself is highlighted by a different theme for each door, one of which is played on harpsichord and another simulates an orchestra on the 'tron. Hayward himself penned two lovely ballads, "Voices in the Sky" and "The Actor", and Pinder's "The Best Way to Travel" includes trippy side effects. While "Visions of Paradise" is a bit slow to unfold, it does demonstrate a more than palatable manner in which to incorporate the obligatory South Asian influences of the day. The same cannot be said of "Om", even if its chorus is a winner.

The Moody Blues were up there with the most innovative acts of their day when it came to exploring mysticism in a variety of forms, and this quality along with their uncanny sense of melody and arrangement struck a chord with many on this release.

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Send comments to kenethlevine (BETA) | Report this review (#192116)
Posted Saturday, December 06, 2008 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars In Search of the Lost Chord is the third full-length studio album by UK progressive rock act The Moody Blues. The band had created quite a stir with their second album Days Of Future Passed (1967) with the innovative cocktail of pop/ rock and classical orchestra music. Something people weren´t used to in 1967.

The music on In Search of the Lost Chord is deliberately recorded without the use of an orchestra. The band instead took on the task to play all sorts of different instruments on the album themselves in addition to the more ordinary rock instrumentation of drums, bass and guitar. Supposedly there are about thirty different instruments played on the album including Citar ( which is dominant in a song like Om) and of course Ray Thomas omnipresent flute playing. The most enchanting thing about the soundscape on the album is the extensive use of mellotron though. Most songs are pretty simple but there are experiments and songs like House of Four Doors and Legend of the Mind are actually pretty progressive to my ears.

The musicianship is great. The vocals are pleasant and there are some smooth harmonies that sounds really good as well. This is not music made to show off so don´t expect long instrumental sections ( there are a few longer sections but nothing overtly progressive or complex). The songs are generally song ( vocal) oriented.

The album is well produced but doesn´t quite reach the excellent sound quality of the predecessor.

In Search of the Lost Chord is a good progressive rock album and considering that it was released in 1968 it must have been seen as a very innovative release back then. I enjoy the album but it´s not more than a 3 star rating for me. It´s still rooted a bit too much in the sixties for my taste ( especially the vocals).

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Send comments to UMUR (BETA) | Report this review (#212269)
Posted Friday, April 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
Sinusoid
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A weaker second half spoils the album for me; whatever that pinging sound in the middle of ''The Best Way to Travel'' is, I hate it and it needs to stop. ''Om'' has nice Eastern influences, but I feel it lasts a bit too long. ''Voices in the Sky'' might not me impressive at first, but if you've heard any later Hayward songs, you might pick out ''Voices in the Sky'' in them.

One major positive I can say for LOST CHORD is that it helped me gain appreciation for the Moody Blues when I was struggling to figure out FUTURE PASSED. No orchestra is here, so the songs aren't too plugged up sound-wise. The songs are slightly poppier (see ''Ride My See-Saw''), but many like ''House of Four Doors'' have that progressive element that we want out of the Moody Blues.

Ray Thomas has never been in finer form in terms of songwriting. ''Legend of a Mind'' is as close to legendary as you can get with the Moodies; the Mellotron in the middle is brilliant and perhaps the best usage of the instrument. ''Dr. Livingston'' is a more nonoffensive thing and while not great, it trumps most anything Ray later came up with (Moodies or solo).

The first two Moody Blues albums are a great one-two punch in the crossover/proto-prog rock realm. If you couldn't take the orchestra in FUTURE PASSED, LOST CHORD is a sigh of relief. Highly recommended.

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Send comments to Sinusoid (BETA) | Report this review (#226725)
Posted Tuesday, July 14, 2009 | Review Permalink
Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ambitious and naïve, colorfully diverse yet fully structured, "In Search Of The Lost Chord" was the album that was a defining statement by The Moody Blues - the affirmation of their permanence in the artsy roads of orchestral-driven rock without the actual addition of a real symphony orchestra. But this is no facsimile of "Days Of Future Passed" but the germination of The Moodies' unique voice in the realms of the then emergent progressive rock scene. All musicians give themselves ampel room to display their versatility besides their own specialized instrument: sitar, autoharp, celli, soprano sax, sundry percussions,... As much as their presence can be noticeable as relevant providers of sonic color, three items are the nuclear ones when it comes to the band's logistic nucleus: the multiple mellotron inputs, the soaring lead guitar and the vibrating bass lines, either complementing eaqch other or alñternating their role within the basic architexture of a specific song or verse. The album kicks off with a funny (yet not lacking poetic solemnity) intro entitled 'Departure', which depicts the start of a search in a crescendo of jolly madness. 'Ride My See-saw' brings the old-fashioned twist to this madness and states a positive vibe in a straightforward way. The same positive aura is preserved in Thomas- penned 'Dr. Livingstone, I Presume', which shows his usual penchant for mixing children's song and Celtic dance. I wouldn't have minded it becoming a bit more extended for teh final choruses, since the song seems to reach a special climax while it fades out definitely. But again, at this time, I am feeling a bit impatient to hear the next compositions by Lodge and Thomas. Lodge's 'House Of Four Doors' is a lovely semi-ballad with epic expansions that include snappets of Medieval folk, Baroque chamber and Tchaikovsky-style symphony. It is divided in two parts, with the last one being really a coda. In between is Thomas' most epic composition ever, 'Legend Of A Mind' - a musical tribute to LSD guru Timothy Leary, it combines melodic Beatlesque pop and exotic nuances under a solid psychedelic guise, also including a beautiful extended flute solo. This is an absolute early prog classic, and the informed listener should be aware right from the start of how unfairly underrated this song is in the rock history books. The album's second half is dominated by Hayward and Pinder. Hayward's 'Voices In The Sky' and 'Visions of Paradise' are plethoric examples of his skill for delivering bucolic-oriented folk-rock, both providing subtle Asian moods as an extra touch. Meanwhile, 'The Actor' has a more bombastic orientation while keeping itself in a semi-slow ballad's framework. Pinder's 'The Best Way To Travel' is an acoustic guitar- centered pop song with spacey mellotron adornments gently intruding, and this is how this song earns some controlled sophistication. 'The Word' is a mystic poem by Edge, followed by Pinder-penned closer 'Om', a lovely track that heavily relies on India's patterns. Even if the musical scheme feels a bit shy when compared to 'Sun Is Still Shining' (from the "Children's Children" masterpiece), you can tell that the band is genuinely focused on their work. All in all, this album is only a partial exhibition of the sort of musical magic to be enhanced in later albums, yet it deserves to be regared as an excellent MB addition to any rock collection. ...And if it is a prog rock collection, even more excellent.

(I dedicate the review of thsi album to the memory of the recentlyh departed Tony Clarke, the producer who indeed was the "Sixth Moodie").

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Send comments to Cesar Inca (BETA) | Report this review (#259912)
Posted Friday, January 08, 2010 | Review Permalink
seventhsojourn
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
RPI
4 stars In Search Of The Lost Chord (1968) is the most psychedelic sounding album by The Moody Blues. As with its predecessor, Days Of Future Passed, it's a concept album with the central theme of this one being the search for spiritual fulfilment. There's no orchestra to stifle The Moodies on this album though, and sonically it has greater cohesion than DOFP. In particular Justin Hayward's guitar and Mike Pinder's Mellotron sound so much more modern, and this is most certainly a progressive album.

The opening piece, Departure, is one of Graeme Edge's short poems and introduces the idea of the party departing on the search of the album title. I think the best thing I can say about these poems is that they were possibly intended to add artistic credibility to proceedings. The John Lodge composition, Ride My See-Saw, follows and this is one of his typically energetic rockers. Now we're getting to the heart of the real Moodies' sound with Justin's beautiful but hard-edged guitar licks blowing his DOFP guitarwork into the stratosphere. This song was the second of two singles taken from the album, but I don't accept the view that this is just a pop song. Well, not pop by today's standard that's for sure. The Ray Thomas-penned Dr Livingstone, I Presume? is one of his characteristically light- hearted songs.

That brings us nicely to the classic closing half of Side One of the original album. One of The Moodies' conventions was to place a two-part song on either side of a central piece to create a suite of songs. Lodge's House Of Four Doors (Parts I and II) is an interesting piece, with the opening of each 'door' revealing music from different eras: Medieval; Baroque; Classical; Rock. This is an idea the band would develop on Procession from the Every Good Boy Deserves Favour album. The 'rock door' here reveals the Ray Thomas composition Legend Of A Mind. Tomo's songs had a tendency to sound as if they had been written for his children. No danger of that here though, where he truly punches above his weight and incorporates several different time signatures into the song. This is one of the greatest songs in the band's repertoire and how I miss hearing it at concerts now that Tomo has retired. As a flautist, Ray Thomas is criminally overlooked as he blazed the trail for Anderson, Gabriel, Van Leer etc. Just listen to the 2-minute flute solo here; it's utterly and outstandingly fantastic! Likewise, Mike Pinder's pitch-bend Mellotron on this song is equally groundbreaking and is light years ahead of his work on DOFP. Sublime.

The first song on Side Two, Hayward's Voices In The Sky, was also the first single from the album. What a beautiful voice Justin has, perfect for this kind of ballad. The remainder of the album has a distinctly Eastern feel running throughout its songs, with oboe, sitar, tambura and tablas enhancing the exotic atmosphere. Notable among these songs is the Hayward/Thomas collaboration Visions Of Paradise, with its dramatic change of key. The penultimate piece, The Word, resolves the mystery of the lost chord, which Mike Pinder names as the mantra Om. I have to say I laughed out loud when I read Slartibartfast's comment that 'they never did find that damn lost chord though'!

Overall this is a fine album, though still not their best. It includes striking album art that is thematically linked to a central concept. It contains songs with complex structures that involve changes in key and time signatures. It fuses different genres and in particular incorporates classical, Eastern and folk influences. The lush soundscapes incorporate a wealth of exotic instruments and make groundbreaking use of flute and Mellotron. It's unfortunate The Moody Blues are relegated to just a passing mention in the Prog Archives Guide as being representative of Crossover Prog. Is that it? Back in the day, the late Tony Clarke had apparently encouraged The Moodies to try to sign King Crimson to their fledgling Threshold label. If that had happened, I wonder if The Moodies would be held in any greater esteem.

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Send comments to seventhsojourn (BETA) | Report this review (#275542)
Posted Tuesday, March 30, 2010 | Review Permalink
AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Symphonic Team
3 stars "In Search of the Lost Chord" searches for meaning but it is ultimately meaningless

Disappointing Moody Blues followup to the excellent conceptual classic "Days of Future Passed". "In Search of the Lost Chord" doesn't hold a candle to that album but it's still got good moments that are worth mentioning.

'Ride my see-saw' is easily the greatest track on the album, always present on Greatest hits compilations, it is a 60s psychedelic single that reminds me of early Pink Floyd. The lyrics are pysch city; "Ride, ride my see-saw, Take this place, On this trip Just for me, Ride, take a free ride, Take my place, Have my seat It's for free" The harmonies are wonderous and it has a driving rhythm that captures the glorious scene of the flower power late 60s; the dance-centred scene with go-go girls swishing their mini-skirts and shaking their bum length blonde hair; it is an essential sound.

'Dr. Livingstone, I presume?' is as close to The Beatles as the band gets. It is average but catchy after a few listens with some great guitar licks.

'House of four doors pt1 and pt2' is a progalicious track with weird music, magic mellotron, and weirder special effects including doors closing and opening and the doors are signifiers to new sections and new time changes; no complaints to the creative innovative nature of the band.

'Legend of a mind' is another classic that most Moody Fans would be familiar with. I like the lyrics on this; "Timothy Leary's dead, No, no, no, He's outside looking in, He'll fly his astral plane, Takes you trips around the bay, Brings you back the same day, Timothy Leary". Leary was the psych drug king who influenced this generation of 1968 and was himself an icon of pyschedelica and the Haight Ashbury scene. The Moody Blues knew it and capitalised on it with this track. The song features some very proggy mellotron sounds and an odd meter with intriguing structures. Another excellent track.

'Voices in the sky' is a low point with simple sugary sickly sweet lyrics and melodies. There is a track called 'Om' with memorable cheese such as "OM, The rain is on the roof, Hurry high, butterfly, As clouds roll past my head I know why the skies all cry, Om, Om, Heaven, Om..." you get the general idea.

The other tracks I have forgotten.

So that sums it all up. A so so album with some good songs. I was bitterly disappointed.

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Send comments to AtomicCrimsonRush (BETA) | Report this review (#280579)
Posted Wednesday, May 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars Given their back-catalogue, some observers may coin the moodies as 'adventurous pop'. While this may or my not be true, it is probably true that this is their most adventurous album, what with an Indian Choir, harpsichords, foreign languages, time machines and even a loop of Tony Clarke farting is in the background to one song. Sometimes this album is so adventurous the music comes to a complete stop and a sound just plays, maybe a deep rumbling sound, like an upset stomach, something for you to meditate on. Some sounds are quite grating, like finger nails on a blackboard. Maybe that's the whole point to this album, the idea of finding inner peace by using screechy noises, like fingernails on a blackboard, as a mantra. Yes I think I've got it, I've unlocked the clues to this intellectual album? In fact, over time, the novelty wears off and it's only the songs with genuine depth and strength that stand up. Weak tracks include the creaking house of 'four doors' and the clunky rocker 'thinking is the best way to travel'. It's the second half of the album, when Justin Hayward makes up for lost time with great melodic tracks like 'voices in the sky' and 'the actor' (this albums' 'nights in white satin'), that makes this worth your while. He's written strong melodies and the inclusion of Indian music is actually well utilised and integrates in well, rather than just being represented in a pretentious way like an overpriced ornament on display. Then again, berating this album is a bit pointless to do so long after the event, considering that 'prog' hadn't been invented. They had to do something. Anyway A solid three stars.

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Send comments to Brendan (BETA) | Report this review (#281737)
Posted Thursday, May 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars I confess i'm a MOODIES addict i love all the albums from DAYS OF FUTURE to SEVEN SOJOURN , i remenber i got to ride bike for 60 kms to get this one , i was hoping to get an album from a band i've been told by a friend ( AMON DUUL ) but i didn't find it and saw that incredible cover WAOO ! ! and i reminded of those wonderfull pop singles i was found of MELANCOLY MAN , NIGHT IN WHITE SATIN , CANDLE OF LIFE and got this album . It took only a few listenings to get through this pure jewel, there is not even the shadow of a weak song on this recording .this album is a psychepop master piece every thing is just great ,every musician brought good stuff. No need to talk about each track but what about RIDE MY SEESAW ,HOUSE OF FOUR DOORS , LEGEND OF A MIND dedicated to the LSD pope THiMOTY LEARY and VOICES IN THE SKY , THINKING IS THE BEST WAY TO TRAVEL no need to go on ,this is a must have LP for any pop music lover ,a beautifull mix in pop songs and avant garde search. GET IT ! ! ! and try a few listenings . 5 STARS no less

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Send comments to jean-marie (BETA) | Report this review (#293290)
Posted Tuesday, August 03, 2010 | Review Permalink
Marty McFly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Errors and Omissions Team
4 stars Pleasant, little album. Certainly good one to start your Moody journey with. Little bit poppy (but of course, pop of then-times, so it means something "better" [at least for me] than current pop), very melodic (underlined by mighty mellotron, which really shines here [as I was told, the same with most of TMB albums]) and also lacking orchestra as on their previous album. But that doesn't matter that much (I would welcome it, but when it's not here, what can I do except trying enjoying it ?). Moody guys sound orchestratic enough to provide for it. Melodic almost to the point of being catchy, or even cheap. Sometimes.

4(-), not that bad.

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Send comments to Marty McFly (BETA) | Report this review (#297029)
Posted Wednesday, September 01, 2010 | Review Permalink
aapatsos
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Metal and Heavy Prog Teams
4 stars I've still not found what I'm looking for... or have I?

The phrase from the album's weakest track Dr. Livingstone, I Presume, sung in a rather happy and pop manner, quite summarises my thoughts when listening to The Moody Blues' 3rd release for the first few times. I was expecting to find the characteristic sound that made the band famous in their early period. I am now faced with a rather diverse album, an amalgam of more components that someone could imagine to find in a 60s release.

Quite surprising are the few narrative intros to songs, giving a rather mysterious tone to the overall sound. From the melodic, light-hearted tunes of Ride my See-Saw and The Best Way to Travel, to the more nostalgic Voices in the Sky and The Actor the band unveils a number of unique musical influences that turn this into a rather sophisticated release. If someone is to add the folk and oriental journeys in Legend of a Mind and Om respectively, then we start talking about some sort of a special sound.

The excellent musicianship is obvious mainly from the way acoustic guitars, flute and percussion are blended together. Keyboards, instrumentation and orchestration have been carefully selected to create this mysterious atmosphere. The broad range of experimentation peaks at the album's best moments: House of Four Doors can be easily described as one of the first progressive (as we mean it today) tracks in history; as different doors open, different musical styles from classical to baroque and symphonic appear; Visions of Paradise is a captivating tune, with Ray Thomas' flute dominating the atmosphere. Melodic vocals, and accompanying mellotron and acoustic guitars, selecting "eastern" chords, generate a majestic polyphony.

Bearing in mind that the year is only 1968, one can only be amazed at the level of musicianship, the quality of the sound and the innovativeness of this release. I could only judge this album on its own as I am not fully acquainted with the band's catalogue; on that basis, the few pop moments are not enough to spoil an extremely intriguing release.

PS. The album cover is one of the best I have ever encountered

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Send comments to aapatsos (BETA) | Report this review (#303796)
Posted Wednesday, October 13, 2010 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars A definite improvement over "Days Of Future Past" and those lame orchestral movements between tracks.Thankfully they weren't repeated here.The Gnosis site rates this as their best studio album and I have to agree.They used no less than 33 instruments in the making of this album and many of those instruments they learned to play in studio while recording this.There is a ton of mellotron on here which sounds great of course."This album was very much a product of the Psychedelic era with it's Eastern influences (sitar, tablas etc) and it's exotic variety of instruments". Great looking cover art as well.

"Departure" is a spoken word intro. "Ride My See-Saw" is a song about freedom and one of my favourite MOODY BLUES tracks. Love this song. I like the vocal melodies after 1 1/2 minutes. "Dr. Livingston, I Presume" sounds like a song off of a children's TV program. Silly stuff. "House Of Four Doors" opens with mellotron as vocals join in.This is a melancholic and laid back tune. "Legand Of A Mind" was actually a track that was composed during the "Days Of Future Past" sessions but not used.This is a top three track for me from this album. It's got that BEATLES-like flavour to it. A calm with flute before 3 minutes then it picks back up after 4 1/2 minutes then the vocals return.

"House Of Four Doors (Part 2)" opens with mellotron as vocals join in. "Voices In The Sky" is a light and mellow tune with vocals, flute and other sounds. "The Best Way To Travel" is the other top three track for me. It's just a feel good song with the focus on the lyrics and reserved vocals. "Vision Of Paradise" is pastoral with vocals. "The Actor" is more of the same reallly. "The World" is a short spoken word piece. "OM" has that Eastern vibe front and center with sitar etc.Vocal melodies before 5 minutes to the end.

I wonder if they're still searching for the chord they lost.

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Send comments to Mellotron Storm (BETA) | Report this review (#362135)
Posted Thursday, December 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars The third album by the Moodies is probably thought of as their second album by most people, being unaware of the pre-Hayward/Lodge debut album. This is almost as different to Days Of Future Passed as that album was to the debut. The orchestra is gone and now more emphasis is put on the Mellotron. The band members taught themselves how to play 33 different instruments during these sessions. Overall the result is a better, less dated and more proggy album than it's predecessor. However, this album is still dated and not extremely proggy.

The songwriting credits are spread out fairly evenly among the members. All the members sing with drummer Graeme Edge doing the narration during opener "Departure" and "The Word". These two are similar to the spoken word sections on Days. "Departure" is a great spacey opening with the voice slowly getting sped up. Some laughing and then it segues into "Ride My See-Saw". This is one of the Moodies more popular songs but I never really cared for it too much. I've always loved the part with the "ahhh"s though. All the albums the Moodies released during this era had most of the songs segueing together.

"Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is one of singer/flautist Ray Thomas' best songs. Great chorus. "The House Of Four Doors" is in two parts, with the great "Legend Of A Mind" sandwiched in between. These three tracks in a row are some of the proggiest music that was released in 1968. The "House" songs alternate between a vocal song and the sound of doors being opened which lead to totally unrelated instrumental sections which make great use of the multiple instruments they used. "Legend" is a great prog song for 1968. One of the Moodies best songs. This song is sometimes known as "Timothy Leary" due to the lyrics, which doesn't mention the title. The song goes through different changes and it just flows so well. Some of the best Mellotron playing you will ever hear mixed with awesome vocal harmonies.

"The Best Way To Travel" is one of keyboardist Mike Pinder's better songs. Some nice Mellotron work here. Love the acoustic guitar playing at the end; almost Spanish sounding. "Visions Of Paradise" is one of the better songs here. Has a gorgeous melody on flute. Nice vocals and sitar. Just a beautiful song. "The Word" apparently, is "Om". This last song is very Indian sounding and probably one of the most dated things the Moodies ever did. Shows the band at their most 'hippie'.

A great classic album that, nonetheless, being a Moodies album can be embarassingly dated at times. It's quite an accomplishment that that they managed to learn, play and record all those instruments on this album. The sound is very full for a 1968 album, but like other albums of this period, the drums are way too low in the mix. I would give this 3.5 but will bump it up to to it's historical significance. 4 stars.

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Send comments to zravkapt (BETA) | Report this review (#389912)
Posted Sunday, January 30, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars This treat was the Moody Blues' follow up to "Days of Future Passed". I often think of it as my favourite but I am such a fan of this enchanting group that I find it exceedingly difficult to single out just one "best" from such a string of great albums."The Moodies" decided to retain the classical instruments from their previous hit album, with one major difference: they would play all the instruments themselves, including cello, oboe, harp, harpsicord, and, for a touch of Indian-flavour, some sitar.

"In Search Of The Lost Chord" is arguably the band's most psychedelic album and it's filled with their euphoric music, which both explores the cosmos and comforts us with emblematic, tuneful bliss. There is a remarkable, youthful enthusiasm in both the music and the lyrics.

"Ride My See-Saw" has a mesmerizing groove, but it's intelligently energetic. "Voices In The Sky," "Visions Of Paradise" and "The Actor" are pure ecstasy, with such heavenly mixes of instrumental textures and heartfelt vocals. I don't find the playful "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" inferior in any way; in fact it's most delightful and quite inventive too.

"Legend Of A Mind" is as haunting as you could ask for, whilst "House Of Four Doors" is mysteriously beautiful and captivating. This and "Part 2" sandwich "Legend Of A Mind" perfectly. And, how can any Psychedelia-loving soul not find delight in "The Best Way To Travel"? And the meditative "Om" completes this treasure in splendid fashion.

The 60s was a very revolutionary time for music. The sounds on this glorious album were highly original back then, and still are! Nothing sounded like this before the late 60s. The truly creative changes that took place in the short span of eight years from 1965 to 1973 were extraordinary. That was an amazing time period that produced some amazing works of art. This album is one of them, and I cannot recommend it enough to those who love the stuff. Some reviewers call it dated and I guess it is in many ways, but I don't really care, it certainly left a huge impression on me.

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Send comments to Frankie Flowers (BETA) | Report this review (#411711)
Posted Sunday, March 06, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars -"The rain is on the roof......."- Even more than their last album, this is my favorite Moody Blues release. I much prefer the Moodys without too much orchestra in the background. While this is dated in many ways, it is still a great album to listen to from time to time and relive some 70's memories. Highlights are "Ride my See-Saw", "Dr Livingstone I Presume?", "House of 4 Doors", "The Best Way to Travel", and the wonderful concluding number with it's spoken intro, "Oom", which is my favorite Moody Blues track. So trippy, hippie, cheesy, and dated but still totally cool! Get out you Indian cymbols and sitar! Nothing less than a 4 star effort. Not perfect but the best they did.

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Send comments to mohaveman (BETA) | Report this review (#427835)
Posted Tuesday, April 05, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars In Search of the Lost Chord ? 1968 (2.2/5) 7 ? Best Song: It don't matter, man

This is terribly vile. The band comes along and totally makes me forget about my nasty 1960's biases then, immediately following, they revel in why I still retain them. I'll be blunt: I despise flower power, and I hate the idea that simple, generic harmonies can make up for not having written intimately resonant and beautiful material in the first place. It was great at first, and it added a lot to the ideas some great artists had swimming in their skulls, but nobody needed it after 1966, and nobody needed a diluted rehash of it from a band who knew and could do better. That, my friends, is the introduction to In Search of the Lost Chord, and it contains everything I dislike openly about the record.

Now that we've dispensed with the niceties, let's get down to business. Not only did they forcibly remove the classical panache and style, they forgot what a solid, untrivial melody was and decided that 'Ride My See-Saw' is good so long as it has an electric guitar and someone playing maracas and a tambourine. That's the formula for a successful Psychedelic album as we all know. I don't see why they figured this was a swell idea. 'Dr. Livingston' is twee and naggingly insufficient. Perhaps I'm just jaded of the style and I can't see good psych when I see it, but maybe just maybe the songs aren't very good. This isn't truly a Moodies album, it's a silly man who accidentally recorded of Days of Future Passed with Please Please Me, the jokesters.

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Send comments to Alitare (BETA) | Report this review (#440458)
Posted Friday, April 29, 2011 | Review Permalink
Warthur
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars A marked improvement over Days of Future Passed, In Search of the Lost Chord proves that the prime-era Moodies didn't need an orchestra to produce lush, sweeping, dramatic music. A more engaging listen thanks to the loss of the classical interludes, the album explores nebulous concepts around the search for emotional and spiritual fulfilment, which is eventually in Eastern mysticism. As you can imagine from an album which includes tributes to Timothy Leary (Legend of a Mind), it's an album decidedly in tune with the hippy subculture of its era, though all the tracks have aged well bar the closing Om - a rather tedious bit of cultural appropriation that doesn't really go anywhere. Though perhaps that song (and The Word, the Graeme Edge poem that leads into it) suffers from following The Actor - anything would pale in comparison to the swooning vocal crescendos of one of Hayward's absolute best compositions.

Although every member of the band lends a hand to the songwriting, the first side leans heaily on John Lodge and Ray Thomas compositions - including the racing Ride My See-Saw and the classic Legend of a Mind - whilst side two tends towards Hayward and Pinder's compositions. Of the two sides, I think the first one is mildly stronger - to be honest, Mike Pinder isn't my favourite composer of the Moodies, both Om and The Best Way to Travel seeming to play off hippy culture without bringing much interesting to the table - but Hayward's fine compositions save the second side from being a complete letdown. Not an outright classic, but a big step in the right direction for the Moodies.

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Send comments to Warthur (BETA) | Report this review (#449476)
Posted Wednesday, May 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
4 stars In my opinion, this is the best of The Moody Blues' albums. While it has a few soft ballads (Voices In The Sky, Visions Of Paradise, like any Moodies album, this one never gets the saccharine sound that a lot of those ballads attain.

And even though some of it sounds a bit silly now, especially Dr. Livingstone, I Presume, it all stays interesing. And remember, this was 1968. Prog rock was just being formed. So this album, with mellotron, sitar, and spacy themes, was a trailblazer. And it was a grand step above "Days Of Future Past", and sounds much less dated today.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#558583)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
5 stars One of the great psychedelic albums (and definitely prog), "In Search Of The Lost Chord" is the 3rd offering from The Moody Blues and right up there with their magnum opus "Days Of Future Passed", released a year previously. The band experiment furthermore with more eccentric instruments (especially sitars for that raga rock feel), most prominently present on "House Of Four Doors" and "Om". I love the title and artwork too - they seem to fit beautifully with the music, although I wish they brought up the "Lost Chord" theme more often, as opposed to going off on tangents about Timothy Leary teamed with (albeit excellent) psychedelic doodlings. Could have made an even better concept album than its predecessor. Nonetheless, a masterpiece and a must-have for any classic prog rock fan.

"Departure" kicks the album off instantly bringing some very psychedelic elements to the table. The best Graeme Edge poetry of all the Moody Blues discography, and works unbelievably well with the aforementioned instruments. An essential opener - takes you right into the music. "Ride My See-Saw", the sort of equivalent of "Peak Hour" but containing less adventurous melodies and chords, brings the more commercial 60s psych-pop vibe into it. Not the best track, but pretty catchy I guess. "Dr. Livingstone, I Presume" is a little light-hearted and one-dimensional for the album when coupled with "See-Saw". I reckon they should have excluded one from the album, and made the other a single to be honest. The song is more musically commendable though, with some great lyrics and chord progressions, but quite a bad melody to fit them. Lovely addition of the mellotron though and strangely warming.

"House Of Four Doors" is quite an eccentric little collection of scribblings which happen to work together well. Some of John Lodge's best songwriting, and shows what he is really capable of (not just slightly inferior Beatles singles with a twist). Some of his superb harmonies shine through on here, and as each door creaks open you enter a new dreamy setting (such as baroque interludes, as you enter some sort of opulent, lavish palace chamber, with harpsichords rolling off the walls). Took me a while to accept the chorus melody that jumps up and down in the wrong place, but one of the highlights. "Legend Of A Mind" is another simply outstanding song on the album. All the things I love in a prog song: chords, melodies, harmonies, quirkiness, and a unique solo, all played out over a long time. The solo in question is an excellently constructed Ray Thomas flute section, that flutters lightly over the solid backing. The guitars on here - also brilliant, and the only real problem I can think of for it is the repetitive lyrics. They are important and meaningful but I really can't remember anything else they say in that 6 minutes.

"Voices In The Sky" is another wonderful arrangement, written by frontman Justin Hayward. Like "Legend Of A Mind", it upholds the bar for guitar playing and soars to a whole new level when it comes to lyrics. I'd love to hear something like this on the radio nowadays - very forward-looking and just sophisticated enough for me to appreciate, especially on some glorious summer's day. Reaches a great climax too at "just what is happening to me". "The Best Way To Travel" then follows: another dreamy pop song taking you to a reality of kaleidoscopic vision even better than the Beatles themselves. The squeaking swing sort of sound does go on a bit too long, but I love that needlessly outgoing music and lyrics. "Visions Of Paradise" is yet another tremendous piece, focusing more on the melodies than filling the gaps with what would become overplayed guitars, and introduces a few more sitar tunes. Another atmospheric chorus here too and keeping the consistency of the album tight, still trying out new techniques.

"The Actor" is basically Justin's attempt to make a copy of "Nights In White Satin" for me. It is a brilliant song but it couldn't keep up with the wonders in "NIWS". Still, I love this song almost as much, because of the vivid memorable echoes, and the band playing as a whole part, laid on with some interesting flute harmonies and melodies to the intricate lyrics. I've not a clue how this one band can produce so many of these striking melodies - definitely comparable with that of The Beatles! "The sounds I have heard in your hello" builds to a slightly more complex climax than "Cos I love you" in "Nights In White Satin", and actually superior for me. Like the whole album, the only thing letting them down really was the flow being interrupted. "The Word" is another short poem, reprising some of the previous material of the album in the background as a fairly mediocre passage is recited - still necessary to the album though, and as a prelude to "Om".

Possibly the best song on the album, and I was just hypnotised when I first heard it. The seeping mellotron, Arabic percussion and instrumentation, plus scattered, reverberating lyrics that all become one in the magnificent chorus harmonies. Sends shivers down my spine every time. I think they mastered their raga rock experimentations so seamlessly on this closing song, and definitely sounds as good, if not better than any other ever created. For someone who loves chords so much, I really love this essentially one chord song so much - proves me wrong and shows me what can be done. Surprisingly, this type of song format has never been repeated, which could be so much greater nowadays if attempted, with all the new access to technology - just a thought to any aspiring songwriters out there! :P Undeniably heavenly, and portrays the scene so much better than ever done previously or since - even more beloved than the "Shine On Brightly" ending by the Moodie's rivals Procol Harum, also released in summer 1968 as the band's 2nd prog rock album that ends in heaven too (coincidence?) The ultimate culmination of The Moody Blues into one deliciously overblown 5 minute prog mini-epic - could they have discovered that coveted lost chord?

A: Despite a couple of scratches along the way, "In Search Of The Lost Chord" shows the band at their creative zenith, being right up there with the resolute "Days Of Future Passed".

Departure: ***** Ride My See-Saw: **** Dr. Livingstone, I Presume: **** House Of Four Doors: **** Legend Of A Mind: ***** House Of Four Doors (Part Two): **** Voices In The Sky: ***** The Best Way To Travel: **** Visions Of Paradise: ***** The Actor: ***** The Word: **** Om: *****

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Send comments to Xonty (BETA) | Report this review (#984625)
Posted Sunday, June 23, 2013 | Review Permalink
3 stars In search of the lost chord is The Moody Blues' third and it's from 1968, thus a very old prog record. As every person reaching this record it's impossible to not be fascinated of the fantastic cover art work. The front page is colourful and mythologic. It contains both the divine and the pagan thoughts. Also the back page and the inner sleeve is interesting and shows a lot to read about.

The Moody Blues plays without symphony orchestra here and they play on many different instruments such as sitar, tablas, mellotron(Justin Hayward), cello, mellotron (Mike Pinder), cello(John Lodge), flutes, saxophone(Ray Thomas) and tablas(Graeme Edge). Beside this they of course play their usual instruments. In 1968 they built further on the ground that was laid by The Beatles, but I would not draw any more similarities than that they both uses very much sitar. I mostly like what The Moody Blues does but I found the music little more stuck in their time than other prog rock. Beside being progressive in many ways, this band also is very conventional, an interesting paradox. My favourite songs are "House of four doors", "Legend of a mind" and "Om" which all have great flute passages and a deep progressive soundscape. Those tracks are lovely and shows what capacities they had to make interesting music. The lyrics are psychedelic and I really love the time spirit that was living then.

But when Moody Blues does its pop song, I feel very much that others do it better. The power of them is to be found in their most experimental songs such as in fantastic "Om" but many tracks are week. They didn't make what Beatles did when they blended the pop songs with experimental stuff. "In search of the lost chord" is an even record, no tracks are bad, but too many is just common good, so four stars isn't possible. This record of The Moody Blues really contains some very good prog songs but its biggest merit is historic. In search of the prog roots and pre-existence, this is an interesting clue. Three strong stars!

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Send comments to DrömmarenAdrian (BETA) | Report this review (#1042196)
Posted Sunday, September 22, 2013 | Review Permalink
Second Life Syndrome
COLLABORATOR
Post/Math Rock Team
4 stars I have a long history with The Moody Blues, although I'm just now coming around to them. My father was a very strict authoritarian, and music was more or less prohibited, unless I wanted to listen to classical music only. I do remember, however, that he liked two bands (as much as he denied it): The Beatles and The Moody Blues. I can still remember him saying, "The Moody Blues have always been better than The Beatles" whenever someone would rave about the latter. So, I grew up hearing "Nights in White Satin", but, as so often happens with sheltered pastor's kids, I didn't like it simply because my father did.

Fast forward a couple decades, and my curiosity has been aroused. After listening to the masterpiece that is "Days of Future Passed", I pursued other albums by The Moody Blues. "In Search of the Lost Chord" is one of these, and I find that I love it almost as much as the aforementioned masterpiece and also "Every Good Boy Deserves Favor". This particular album is incredibly mysterious, as it not only abandons the orchestral structures of "Days of Future Passed", but it also dwells upon Gnostic ideas of secret knowledge that all of mankind is pursuing: a secret knowledge that leads to salvation and existential peace.

One of the most common comments on this album is its "dated" sound. I find that this one reason I love it! It is SUCH an album from the free love period, and I appreciate it as such. Also, it's no more dated than Genesis or King Crimson or Yes. With the wondrous soundscapes created by the mellotron, "In Search of the Lost Chord" delves into various world musics and combines them with, yes, the pop of that era. To me, that is extremely progressive.

This album is markedly darker than their previous work, as it starts with a throbbing, sweating introduction (Departure) that begins the journey into discovery. It launches itself into a few pop songs that are catchy and fantastic, such as "Ride my See-Saw" Soon, we arrive at the "House of Four Doors" suite that has "Legend of the Mind" smack dab in the middle. This track is amazing. Nothing more needs to be said, but I can't help but go on. It's pop chords give way to illustrious flute exercises and a bright darkness that penetrates the haze. The rest of the suite and the second half of the album are full of surreal sounds and excellent depictions of mankind's search.

Finally, we arrive at the last two songs, "The Word" (a poetic interlude) and "Om", the final destination of inner transcendence. While some may find these tracks cheesy, I find them profound, celestial, and important, if you pay attention.

"In Search of the Lost Chord", then, is a wonderful album of new sounds (for the band) and philosophical inquiry. Man searches for the light, and he pursues the natural harmony that is within him, though I believe that this generic spirituality is not the ultimate answer. It is, however, a fascinating experience with much to learn embedded in a vibrant, organic musical journey. The Moody Blues deserve so much more attention.

4.5 stars

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Send comments to Second Life Syndrome (BETA) | Report this review (#1196706)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2014 | Review Permalink

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